Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Zoobooks Review and Subscription Giveaway

To see a sample issue visit Zoobooks.com!
I was not paid for this post. I was however, given one copy of each magazine to review. The review is a genuine reflection of our experience with zoobooks.

Another great Christmas gift!! Last year I subscribed Brianna and Keira to Zootles and Zoobooks. What a great gift this has been!

Zoobooks.com offers books all about nature! Learn about Ants, frogs, pandas and more while engaging in age appropriate activities. Each book offers vibrant pictures and fun facts that are not only interesting for kids but for adults too!

Zoobooks.com offers three different magazines:

Zoobies is for up to age 2 and features pictures of your child's favorite animals and a little fact with each picture. The animal we reviewed was the turtle. It had great photos and a little activity and rhyme. Also, included were some fun tips on how to include more learning opportunities! Luke sat down and pointed and talked for at least an hour about this book! He now totes it around to tell everyone about his turtle book!

Zootles is for ages 2-6. This is Keira's book. She loves it. They check the mail daily to see if they got a magazine in! Zootles, like Zoobies offers vibrant photos. Our review copy showed us what an ant looks like up close! Kind of creepy!!! We learned all about different types of ants, how they work, what they eat, an how they live. We also did fun activities and we watched ants work by giving them a sweet treat and watching them take it apart and carry it back home!

Zoobooks is for ages 6-12. Brianna's book was about hummingbirds. Zoobooks offers articles for more advanced readers and could easily be made into a mini unit study. But not to worry! It still offers fun age appropriate activities and facts too!

Besides the magazines you also have access to parent and child areas on the Zoobooks Website. This would make a great Christmas present for you child!

Now for the fun part! To enter all you need to do is follow my blog and post a comment (if you already follow just post a comment) ! Want a second and third chance? Follow me on Twitter and/or on Facebook. If you want 2 more entries Share

this post on Facebook. Please post a SEPARATE comment for each entry (up to 5 entries with 4 comments). I will chose the winner using random.org on December 15th! Be sure to leave a contact email! Winner will choose ONE subscription from the above.

US residents only please.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cyber Monday Currclick Freebies!

Currclick.com is giving away a ton of freebies! Head on over and download to your hearts content!

My favorite is Polar Christmas (designed to go with Polar Express)

Amazon.com Cyber Monday Deals: Melissa and Doug

Check out these hot Cyber Monday deals on educational toys by Melissa and Doug!
There are also several Tag Books marked down to $8.00!
In the lightning deals there is a Celestron 44104 500x Power Advanced Biological Microscope marked off 46%! This will go fast so be sure to grab it!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

All About Me Preschool Lesson Plans

For December (which is only 2 weeks due to the holidays) we are using the theme "All About Me". This is a fun one, but can get kind of overwhelming as there are just so many resources on the internet to chose from. Here is what we decided to use. I will post a video of the lapbook once I have a completed one.

I found 2 FREE All About Me Lapbooks

Pre-K and Lower Elementary - very basic information such as name, age, what I look like

Mid-Elementary and Up All About My Family- goes into a bit more detail and digs into basic genealogy.

Along with these lapbooks we are using the Let's Start Science Series books to learn about how our bodies work.

Here is a detailed breakdown of the lessons for "All About Me" month. All of the printables can be found in the above link for Pre-K and Lower Elementary:


We did the front of our lapbook covers. I basically just wrote, my name is: and I am ...years old. The older children filled wrote all of it themselves and I let them use stickers for their names and age. We then did the paper dolls and "What I want to be when I grow up".
We read about our sense of smell and then I had them smell various spices. With younger ones this was about all we could fit in for one day!


We talked about Texas, looked it up on a map and glued an outline into our lapbook. We also did our signatures (or tracing for the younger ones). We read about our sense of taste and touch.


We talked about what we liked, our favorite color, toy, animal and so on. We also talked about feelings. I had a really hard time finding a printable I liked so we drew faces that were sad, happy, scared, surprised and angry. Used contact paper and then put them into a library pocket. It worked out really well. Books were about sight and taste. The kids tasted various things as a project.

Wednesday: We finished up by making a handprint family tree and gluing pictures onto it. I had some birthday cake notepad papers that we wrote their birthdays onto. I wanted to do our helping hands and make a book by tracing their hands and then writing on it how they can help out at home but we ran out of time

Gifted Child Series:Asynchronous Development and Grade Acceleration

This post is a contribution by guest blogger Chrystal Smith.
Check out her book store Barefoot Books for great children's books!
To read part 1 of the Gifted Child Series Visit Here.

These two topics sort of go hand in hand, but at the same time, they’re completely different. I almost don’t know where to begin, because the explanation becomes a circular one at times. Forgive me. This will be a long post, I’m sure.

Gifted children learn differently than most of the population. One of the best indicators of giftedness is a very obvious accelerated development in one area while the other areas are either normal or perhaps even a tiny bit behind normal. It’s not uncommon for a gifted child to be 3, 4, 5, or even 10 years ahead in just one subject like math or reading, while the others are on target, give or take a year. Why? Gifted children process information more quickly than average most of the time, they dive deeper than other children their age, and with each new thing they learn, they’re able to expand upon it. The abstract mind is one of the last parts of the brain to develop, but in gifted children, that development happens very early (especially in those whose strength lies in math).

For example, let’s say you have a gifted child who is an early reader. At the age of 12-24 months, the child already identifies all of the names and sounds of the alphabet without any “teaching” from the parents. By age 2-3 the child is putting sounds together for phonetically correct words and is identifying advertisements or logos with non-phonetic (or even misspelled) words. With or without a little guidance, the child has figured out common non-phonetic words by age 3-4. Is it any wonder that the child by age 5-6 will have an amazing vocabulary (reading books that have paragraphs and chapters rather than 3-4 letter words), a vivid imagination, and the understanding of many subjects his/her peers have never seen? The child will be reading books at the middle school level about horses or magicians, just for fun. He will have already devoured (and probably memorized) Dr. Seuss, which further developed rhyme, rhythmic oral reading, and speed of reading.

Amazing? Eh… maybe to some. But there’s a down side to this. A child who learns to read well and early using phonics rather than sight words will transition from oral reading to silent reading long before peers do. This is the reason many of them are overlooked, considered normal, or even considered lazy if placed in a public school classroom. Walking into a room full of 4-6 year olds during “quiet time”, you would expect to see all of them flipping the pages of a book. It’s hard to tell which ones are looking at the pictures and which ones are silently reading the words on the page. It’s even harder to tell which ones have moved past the words on the page and have started to develop their own ideas about where the story might lead them, why a character acts in a particular way, and what impact the story might have on real life. The really good readers will appear lazy or disobedient. Why read a book about Sam the Clam with only one sentence per page when you could daydream to make up a much more elaborate story on your own?

A child like this becomes bored very, very quickly in a classroom setting surrounded by age level peers. The child will feel like a superstar for a few weeks, but soon it becomes painful obvious to them that no effort is required. These children have two options most of the time: sit back and do nothing (grades start to fall completely, or grades stagnate because tests scores are high but regular work isn’t completed) or they become a disruption (a class clown or class bully). A very small number will actually request something more, but “more” isn’t the same thing as “better”. To a gifted child, “more” work is pushing a rock up a hill over and over only to watch it roll back down, while “better” work is designing a way to get the rock effortlessly up the hill in record time and have it stay in place.

When a 6-7-8 year old child is reading at a high school or adult level, simply pulling the child out once a week for a gifted enrichment day won’t cure the problems with grades or behavior, and it CERTAINLY won’t challenge the child. All children need to be challenged at a proper level, and by that, I mean that a gifted child who is being properly challenged will be asked to do much, much more than a delayed child who is being properly challenged.

The nice thing about homeschooling a gifted child is that you can tailor education to meet the needs of the child on a PER SUBJECT basis. A child who is reading at the middle or high school level at age 5 certainly won’t be able to write like a 12-16 year old. Muscle development and coordination simply aren’t there yet. I know countless mothers of gifted children who tell me they either did all assignments orally with their child, or they did all of the written assignments for their child in the early years (with the child dictating the answers). You know what? I’m one of those moms, so it was a huge relief to find SO many others like me!

Here’s where we get into grade acceleration – which could easily become a novel on its own, so I’ll try to be very brief here. There are many types of acceleration, some of which include:

(1) Homeschoolers who work on a year-round schedule cutting a few years off their child’s pre-college education whether the child is gifted or not. They’re simply making an efficient use of time without changing the level of challenge. This usually isn’t enough for a gifted child.
(2) Subject acceleration is the most common type of acceleration. Sometimes you’ll find it in public schools, but it’s much more common to find this type among homeschoolers. It’s quite normal to see a “2nd grader” doing 2nd grade work in most subjects, but be working from a 3rd grade math book or be asked to dive a little deeper into a reading assignment.
(3) Whole grade acceleration for a gifted child is the type of acceleration that usually results in rude comments from strangers, nagging comments from family, and jealous stares from peers (especially at competitions like spelling bees). Some children are simply not challenged and not happy unless they’re working several years ahead of schedule in all subjects. Some children are “globally gifted” (meaning they excel in more than just one area).

Do all children learn to walk on their 1st birthday? Do all children get their first tooth on the day they turn 6 months old? Of course not! Every child is different. Here’s another thing for you to ponder:

• If a 4 year old weighs 55 lbs and runs like the wind, he’s destined to be a football player.
• If a 4 year old plays the harp like an angel, he’s destined to be a musician.
• If a 4 year old can read Harry Potter cover to cover, discuss the plot twists with you, and argue about what might happen in the next volume, he must have been pushed by his parents to read early. He must be abused.


Stereotypes like this are what discourage many young, talented children – children who generations ago might have become Newton or Edison. (Most people don’t realize that Einstein didn’t even learn to talk until he was 3 years old.) Perhaps I’ll talk more about acceleration in another post, touching on stereotypes, socialization, etc. In the mean time, be flexible with your children. Let them explore to their hearts’ content, and make learning fun. If that means checking out a book from the young adult section of the library, buying a chemistry set, or learning another language, so be it.

Here are a couple of links you might find interesting as well:

A Nation Deceived - Volume 1 is an overview and is what most people will want. Volume 2 is the nitty gritty statistics behind volume 1 for those who need more detailed information to make an informed decision about their child.

Some of My Best Friends Are Books – Children who read at an accelerated level are often not ready for topics beyond their emotional maturity. This book gives parents many options for children who want to read at one level, but who are only able to process at their age level. It’s great for kids who read 2-3 years ahead of their peers, but it’s not going to help if you have a child reading many, many years beyond their peers.

A Homeschooler's Christmas List

Cyber Monday is tomorrow!! When we shop for our kids I really try not to buy junk. They get so much from their grandmother and other family that we often just end up overwhelmed. This year I am making a list and trying to stick with toys that can be "educational" as well as fun! Here is a list of my favorite Cyber Monday gifts!

Kidkraft Deluxe Let's Cook Kitchen- We love our wooden pretend kitchen. So much that we are going to replace it this year with this one. It has been played to pieces! Let your kids whip you up a yummy meal plus get a great deal! This one is marked down quite a bit!

Supermarket Cash Register - Before they can cook in their new kitchen they will need to run to the store to get supplies! Teach money math skills with this cash register and have a ton of fun playing store!

LeapFrog Leapster 2 Learning Game System - Green - Marked down 50%! Offers several educational games that teach anything from art to math.

Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards - Melissa and Doug offers many wooden educational toys. Kids learn pattern, geometry, sorting and more, while playing with toys you know are safe from harmful chemicals.

Melissa & Doug Abby & Emma Deluxe Magnetic Dress-Up- These are the number one played with item in our house. A fun take on classic paper dolls, these come with several different magnetic outfits for hours of fun!

Young Heroes Child Police officer Costume, Medium - Let your little hero dress up! Learn about community helpers and let him emulate local role models! Be sure to take a trip up to your local police station to learn all about what policemen do!

There are many Amazon Educational Toys on sale this season, so be sure to check it out. Don't forget that orders over $25 always ship free!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Home School Enrichment Magazine Giveaway

Here at Home School Enrichment, we believe homeschooling is the best lifestyle a Christian family can have. And, we want you to experience that joy and fulfillment throughout your entire homeschool journey! Keep reading for just a few topics we've covered to help keep the joy in your homeschool!

Wonderful magazine...It's evident that the authors love their homeschooling experience and wish to encourage others to begin/continue their homeschooling journey.

Kayla T.
Relevant and Useful
Most of our authors are homeschool parents themselves, so you know you're getting tried-and-true ideas that work in the real world of homeschooling. Here are just a few of the topics we've covered in past issues:

•10 Time-Tested Tips for Staying on Track
•How to Stay Inspired
•Real-Life Strategies to Get More Done
•Customizing Your Highschooler's Education
•Handling the High-Needs Child
•Why Homeschooling is the Best Answer for Good Socialization
•Developing a Philosophy of Education: How You Can and Why You Should
•Using Faith in Our Homeschools
•How NOT to Teach Writing
•34 Mommy Tips: Quick and easy ways to simplify your life

Encouraging and Inspiring
Homeschooling can be tough sometimes, so we all need regular doses of encouragement and inspiration to keep our focus clear. That's why each issue of Home School Enrichment is filled with uplifting articles and Biblical advice to keep our perspective what it ought to be, to help you keep going strong, all year long!

I love the encouragement that I have received from each issue. I feel that it really hits the heart of home school issues and helps me feel more confident in the path that we have chosen for our family.

Billie in Texas
Practical and Long-Lasting
Home School Enrichment Magazine isn't a magazine you'll read once and then throw away. We hear from readers all the time who keep their issues handy for years, so they can refer back to the practical, real-life teaching ideas and encouragement. Each issue of HSE is a long-lasting resource that you'll keep coming back to again and again!

Just wanted to let you know that your magazine is in my humble opinion the best homeschool resource out there. I have just been going through back issues of all my homeschool magazines, searching for things to aid my teaching this year. I have found three times as much useful stuff in yours than in any other...

Linda in Illinois
Not Just for Mom!
We want each issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine to have something for every member of your family! So while Mom may be the first one to go through each issue when it arrives, Dad and the kids will probably also wind up with it somewhere along the line! Your kids especially will love the special articles we include just for them, like History and Heritage and Inventions That Changed the World. And lots of Dads get a real kick out of helping with the hands-on projects included in each issue!

I enjoyed [the magazine] - and noticed that my husband picked it up & was reading it & commenting on the articles too!

Marilyn in Colorado
Thanks for the great magazine! The whole family looks forward to its arrival.

Jina S.
Money-back Guarantee
We're confident Home School Enrichment Magazine will encourage and help you in your homeschool. But if for any reason you're not satisfied, just call us at 1-800-558-9523 and let us know - we'll refund your money for all unmailed issues, no muss, no fuss. But in almost six years of publishing, we could count the number of refunds we've given on one hand, proving that Home School Enrichment Magazine really is useful to real homeschoolers!

Now for the fun part! To enter all you need to do is follow my blog and post a comment (if you already follow just post a comment) ! Want a second and third chance? Follow me on Twitter and/or on Facebook. If you want 2 more entries Share this post on Facebook. Please post a SEPARATE comment for each entry (up to 5 entries with 4 comments). I will chose the winner using random.org on December 16th! Be sure to leave a contact email!

US residents only please.

Apologia Science Exploring Creation with Astronomy Giveaway

A journey through space that you'll never forget. Your child will learn more about space than other children their age, and will be able to hold their own in conversations with knowledgeable adults.

One of my favorite things about this book is the conversational style in which it is written. It reads more like a mutual discussion about astronomy, rather than a science textbook. Very in-depth information is conveyed, but with words and expressions to which a child can relate. This doesn't mean it is dumbed down, for the course itself has enough information to qualify for a high school astronomy course.

Another thing I love about Exploring Creation With Astronomy (Young Explorers)
is that each child essentially makes his own astronomy book utilizing notebooking activities and assignments. These assignments are designed to replace workbooks, which do not draw from the child's heart and mind what was learned. When a child is merely filling in blanks in a workbook, not much is required of the child. His memory is engaged only long enough to get the worksheet complete. This certainly can give the child a sense of accomplishment, but it isn't as useful for long term retention as notebooking. With notebooking, the child is asked to draw upon his learning, organize it in his mind, and formulate a response that is orderly and makes sense. The child expresses the things that were important or significant to him. Creating an illustration and writing out (or for younger students, dictating or making a title page) the things he remembers will reinforce his learning. As well, the child will enjoy looking over his astronomy notebook, his own creation of all that he knows about astronomy, time and time again. As he reviews his work, he will further remember what he learned. Creating a notebook page truly draws the most out of the child. There is a saying, "Tell me, and I'll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I'll understand." Notebooking is the act of involving the child in his learning.

When my daughter looked over her astronomy notebook pages from three years ago, she remembered everything she learned with fond memories of the astronomy course. I then showed her some workbooks she had done that same year. She had completed a lot of "creative" exercises in them, and had even written stories of her own, but she didn't remember a single thing about the work. She didn't even remember doing it; she thought I was kidding her that the workbooks were hers.

Involve me, and I'll understand.

I've done science courses with the kids that had experiments that didn't relate to what we were reading. And I've done experiment kits with the kids that were fun, but didn't have enough reading and explanation to tie it all together in their minds. They were fun, but the kids never really understood the reasons for the experiments, and didn't care that much since we had not been studying the subject in an interesting way.

The projects and experiments at the end of every lesson in this astronomy course (and the other courses I have written) all correspond to the lesson. The only one that might be a little questionable is the activity for the Pluto lesson. The children learn how cold Pluto is during the lesson, and after much prayer about a "cold" activity, I chose an experiment where the kids make ice cream in nested ziplock bags by shaking them vigorously. It really works! Well, that doesn't perfectly relate to Pluto, but hey! I haven't had a kid complain yet. And we do explain the process with a brief discussion on the different freezing points of water and salt.

Now for the fun part! To enter all you need to do is follow my blog and post a comment (if you already follow just post a comment) ! Want a second and third chance? Follow me on Twitter and/or on Facebook. If you want 2 more entries Share this post on Facebook. Please post a SEPARATE comment for each entry (up to 5 entries with 4 comments). I will chose the winner using random.org on December 13th! Be sure to leave a contact email!

US residents only please.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Freezer Meal Friday Edition #2

This is my second instillation of Freezer Meal Fridays! To participate all you need to do is post your recipe for a freezer meal on your blog and link back to my blog using mr. linky. You are welcome to use my graphic or make your own just please be sure to link back to my blog!!
This week we have vegetable soup!

1 quart chopped fresh tomatoes
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced onion
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
2 cups diced cooked potatoes
2 cups water
1.Combine soup base ingredients in a kettle or Dutch oven; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Cool. Place 2 cups each into freezer containers. May be frozen for up to 3 months.

To prepare soup: Thaw soup base in the refrigerator. Transfer to a kettle or Dutch oven. Add potatoes and water; simmer for 30-40 minutes. Yield: 4 serving per batch. Nutritional Analysis: One 1-cup serving (prepared without salt) equals 108 calories, 31 mg sodium, 0 cholesterol, 25 gm carbohydrate, 3 gm protein, trace fat. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 vegetable.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Just Dance Kids Giveaway!!!

Time to get your kids moving! And for the child who loves video Just Dance Kids is perfect!

When it comes to hitting the dance floor, you've got the moves, you just need room to rock. Really let your expression shine as you turn your living room into a dance floor, let the moves flow and rock out to your favorite tunes in the first-ever Just Dance title designed just for kids. Whether you're moving like the thunder in "Naturally" or going on safari in "Surfin' USA," there's only one thing you have to do to have a blast — Just Dance.

With more than 40 hit pop and hip-hop songs re-recorded by kids, for kids, plus TV-show favorites for little brothers and sisters, Just Dance Kids has the beats to get everyone moving. Bigger kids can dance till they drop in Dance Party mode for one nonstop stream of songs, shake it to the rhythm to earn bonus points in Freeze and Shake mode and team up with their friends to rock the dance floor together. For the younger crowd, beloved TV personalities like The Wiggles and Yo Gabba Gabba make getting into the groove as fun as tuning in to their favorite shows, and classic favorites like "Wheels on the Bus" let the tiniest tots enjoy the musical magic. As kids bust a move and party with their friends, parents can track how many calories they burn in this healthy game that never feels like exercise.

From what I can see the songs are safe and kid friendly. Give your kids some game time and exercise time!

Now for the fun part! One winner will receive a copy of the Just Dance Kids Wii Video Game!! To enter all you need to do is follow my blog and post a comment (if you already follow just post a comment) ! Want a second and third chance? Follow me on Twitter and/or on Facebook. If you want 2 more entries Share

this post on Facebook. Please post a SEPARATE comment for each entry (up to 5 entries with 4 comments). I will chose the winner using random.org on December 8th! Be sure to leave a contact email!

US residents only please.

10 Days in the USA and Back Seat Drawing Review and Giveaway

We are always looking for fun ways to learn so let me share with you two games that I was asked to review and then enter to win a copy of them for yourself!

Pack your bags, take some time off and get ready to tour the USA! That is what the 10 Days In The USA Game is all about! You and your children will learn geography, organization, and learn to plan ahead as they try to become the first traveler to make all their connections across the USA while stopping to visit the states along their route. What a fun way to learn!

10 Days In The USA Game is for 2-4 players and is rated for ages 10 and up but could be adapted to play with younger children by forming teams with the parents.

Another game we enjoy by Out of the Box is Backseat Drawing Jr. In this game players must give the "artist" directions on how to draw without the artist knowing what they are drawing! There was a lot of fun and giggles as we attempted to give each other directions and everyone tried to guess what the drawing was!

Backseat Drawing Jr. is rated for ages 7 and up and 3-8 players but is easily adaptable for younger children.

Out of the box offers many more learning games. Many have been awarded with awards such as National Parenting Seal of Approval, Parents Choice Gold Award, Major Fun Award, Doctor Toy- Smart Play Smart Toy,and Mensa Select Award.

I was given a copy of both of these games by the publisher to review. I was not compensated in any other way and the above statements are my honest opinion on the games.

Now for the fun part! Winner will receive one copy of each game. To enter all you need to do is follow my blog and post a comment (if you already follow just post a comment) ! Want a second and third chance? Follow me on Twitter and/or on Facebook. If you want 2 more entries Share this post on Facebook. Please post a SEPARATE comment for each entry (up to 5 entries with 4 comments). I will chose the winner using random.org on November 29th! Be sure to leave a contact email!

US residents only please.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fruit Gobbler Healthy Thanksgiving Recipe

Because we homeschool we wouldn't usually have holiday parties, but because of the in home school I run we did this year!

I wanted to do something super fun that we could also eat and fell into the healthy category and I was so excited when I came across this Fruit Gobbler Recipe.

Bosc pear (head)
Melon (body)
Cheese (beak and tail feathers)
Red pepper (snood, feet and side feathers)
Raisins (eyes)
Grapes (tail feathers)
Bamboo skewers
Stabilize the melon body by cutting a shallow slice off the rind to form a flat base. Using a section of bamboo skewer, attach a Bosc pear head to the melon, as shown.

Cut a cheese triangle beak and red pepper snood. Attach both, along with raisin eyes, to the head with sections of toothpick.

Cut red pepper feet and set them in place. For tail feathers, skewer cheese cubes and red grapes, then insert the skewers as shown. Pin pepper side feathers in place with toothpicks.

I changed a few things so that I could use up some food I already had and I used a cantaloupe for the body and I couldn't get him to sit up so had to stuff some tissue paper "grass" around him. We had a lot of fun making him and he was a big hit at our party.

Time Well Spent

Terri Camp is a guest blogger from terricamp.com

I am a mom with teenagers - lots of teenagers! I say that, not to make you groan or feel sorry for me, which is the societal norm, but so you know that I have gone where I am telling you to go. None of my children have been to school. As a homeschool mom raising eight kids eleven years apart, I have had my share of frustrations.

My biggest frustration was that feeling that all I was doing was disciplining children and we weren't getting anything done. There would be times that I would measure my progress by how many books were read, how many pages were complete, how many A's were made, even though I felt like the rest of my life was falling apart around me. I could see results in the "work" that was accomplished. However, there was a catch in my spirit that I was measuring the wrong thing. But Lord, I would plead, I need to feel accomplished! I didn't feel that unless I could see immediate results. Well, let me tell you, the disciplining of our children may not yield immediate results, but most definitely the time spent training them, will be the most rewarding of our lives.

I can honestly say that I have never had a teenager talk back to me. Never. I have never had a teen raise his voice at me. With all my heart, I believe it was because back in the days that they were forming their futures I took the time to discipline them. You know, when they are two they are forming their futures. And their older siblings are also forming their futures. It is amazing for me to see my older kids lovingly discipline their own kids, because they learned that skill at home. I had worried that if I spent too much time disciplining a younger sibling, that the older ones would miss something in their education. That is the furthest thing from the truth. When we make the first things first - the rest will fall into place.

What I realized was the discipline of my children had to take first place, no matter what the rest of the kids were doing. Now that doesn't mean I hovered over my kids and beat them down by picking out every issue in their lives. I have not come so far as to be without sin myself. I think one of the worst things we can do is point out their failings, in the name of discipline. However, establish some very clear guidelines, adhere to them, teach your children to adhere to them, and the rest will fall into pace.

In our house we had a family motto for the kids that went like this, "I obey the first time, every time, without questions, and a smile on my face." Simple, to the point, and easy to remember. I didn't expect perfection out of them, but I did expect them to obey. I knew that everyone makes mistakes and not every mistake needed to be met with discipline. But for sure they had to obey. It may seem simple, but when the kids haven't learned it, they require a lot of time to help them learn.

It's been several years now that I've had to bring up the family motto. Just for fun, I asked Tina, who is 23, if she remembers the family motto. At first she said, "I'm not sure I remember it." So I said, "I obey ..." Quickly she said, "The first time, every time, without excuses, and a smile on my face." She replaced questions with excuses. But I think I like that too.

On those days when you're feeling like all you're ever doing is disciplining your kids, try to remember that the payoff for that is worth more than any page they fill out in their math books, any book they read, any A they receive. When you have a child who grows up with self-discipline, you have a child who has succeeded beyond most of the population. It is definitely Time Well Spent

Terri Camp
Inspirator, Author, Speaker and Mom of 8

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kid's Night Out Giveaway!

This is for all of my local followers! Grace Christian Preschool has offered to give to one lucky family a free Kid's Night Out for December 10th! Your child will be loved and cared for in a safe environment while you take a night off to go Christmas Shopping, on a date, or just hang out at home! Your child will be provided dinner and a night of fun and games that range from cooking projects to movie time. Children must be 6th grade or younger to participate in KNO.

I know the ladies that run this program and I can vouch that your child will be in great hands and have a great time!

Now for the fun part! To enter all you need to do is follow my blog and post a comment (if you already follow just post a comment) ! Want a second and third chance? Follow me on Twitter and/or on Facebook. If you want 2 more entries Share

this post on facebook! For another TWO entries become a fan of GCP on Facebook!

That's a total of 7 entries!! Please post a SEPARATE comment for each entry (up to 7 entries with 5 comments). I will chose the winner using random.org on November 30th! Be sure to leave a contact email!

Remember that you will need to be within driving distance so be sure to check out Grace Christian Preschool's website for location address!

US Residents Only Please. Kid's Night Out good only on the date specified. Children must be your children (sorry no children from extended family!).

Gifted Child Series:So You Think Your Child is Gifted?

This post is a contribution by guest blogger Chrystal Smith.
Check out her book store Barefoot Books for great children's books!

So you think your child is gifted?

I hear them all the time… “When did you first know something was different about your son?”, “My daughter knows her ABC’s… do you think she’s gifted?”, “Everybody’s gifted in their own way,” “My kid does that too, but she’s not gifted,” and “They all even out by 3rd grade, anyway.”

Like any other parenting topic in the universe, there are a lot of people who will give you unsolicited (and sometimes horrible) advice, and there are some people who genuinely care about your family or are genuinely concerned about their own children. So, how DO you know if your child is gifted?

The short answer is to have the child tested. *crickets chirping*

Um… yeah. That’s the SHORT answer. Seriously, the real answer is much longer and much more complicated. What kind of test? How much does it cost? Doesn’t the school system provide gifted testing to everyone in the district? What if my child doesn’t like tests? What if my child has a learning disability or medical disability? How do I know if I even WANT to have my child tested? I mean… what if I test him, he does poorly, and then feels like an idiot? I don’t want to ruin his self esteem!

Ok, so here’s the long answer:

First, you should familiarize yourself with the characteristics of a gifted child. There are lists all over the internet, but most of them have recurring items in their checklists. Gifted children, unless they’re the off-the-scale genius type, will never have all of the characteristics, so don’t panic if your child doesn’t make the cut on a few. However, they will generally have about 90-95% of them unless there is a hidden disability or something like that (which I’ll talk more about in a bit). A wonderful book to give you an idea about your child’s giftedness is (the old version) Losing Our Minds or (the new version) 5 Levels of Giftedness, both by Deborah Ruf. You can get a preview of that book here. If you’re the checklist type, take a look at some of these. They’re all pretty much the same:

What is Gifted?
What is Giftedness?
How to Tell if Your Preschooler is Gifted
How to Tell if your Schooler is Gifted
Traits of a Gifted Child

You’ve read through the lists, and now you’re pretty sure your child is different, right? People have begun to point out the differences in public. Grandparents are whispering behind your child’s back. Ok, so yes, your child is likely gifted, or at the very least, bright. Now what?

Here’s where the testing part comes in. No, school districts are generally NOT required to offer giftedness testing to all students, especially those who don’t attend the public school. Some states don’t even have funding for gifted programs. Not only that, but the test a school gives for giftedness isn’t actually an IQ test at all. Let’s look at it from another perspective. If your child is complaining of headaches, you schedule your child’s annual check-up with the doctor and have a quick little screening test in the doctor’s office, right? Well, if you child can make out the E’s, his vision is perfectly fine. No need to worry. WRONG. Headaches could be a sign of a tracking problem, fatigue, or lazy eye. Those things should be diagnosed by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist, not a simple screening. Gifted testing at the public school is the same. Some kids will test into the gifted program without being gifted at all, and some will miss the cut for a variety of reasons when they’re actually quite gifted. A real IQ test is necessary, and that test must be given by a licensed psychologist (not psychiatrist) who is trained in testing children.

“Sign me up. My 2 year old will be in the psychologist’s office tomorrow!” Hold it, hold it, hold it. No, the absolute earliest you can do comprehensive IQ testing on a child is age 4. Even then, some children aren’t ready. They simply don’t have the attention span or motor skills necessary. The most accurate age for testing is between about ages 5 and 9. Not only that, but the test is quite an investment! Just the basic test will generally cost you around $700 (depending on where you go and what resources are available in your area). It would be worth your time to check your local colleges, because sometimes a grad student can offer the test at a much cheaper rate. If your child maxes out on any of the subtests, he’ll need additional testing as well. I complete package of tests, including IQ, learning style, hidden disabilities, etc. will cost you in the neighborhood of $2-3k, and no, health insurance doesn’t cover it unless a medical condition is suspected. Still interested? I recommend scheduling a conference call with the Gifted Development Center in Denver, CO. Even if you decide not to test right now, the phone call will be money well spent. (In the neighborhood of $200 or so.)

Nope… I haven’t forgotten. What about kids who just “don’t test well”, but they always seem to know the answers? What about children who have ADHD? What about children with dyslexia? These are examples of what’s called “twice exceptional” or “2E” in the gifted community. A really good child psychologist will be familiar with all of those conditions and will be able to make recommendations of giftedness (or not) based on how the child tested, not necessarily the final score. A child could be extremely gifted but still score low on an IQ test.

So, that’s it in a nutshell. Look for more information about giftedness from me in the future. Asynchronous development, levels of giftedness, quirky behaviors, grade acceleration, hiding behind a wall… there’s a lot more to giftedness than a label, just like there’s a lot more to a child than a name on a birth certificate.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Cowboy's Chuckwagon

I love homeschooling (you didn't already know that did you?). It has given us so many opportunities to do unique things. From our Japanese class to this one A Cowboy's Chuck wagon, we are truly blessed to be able to take advantage of all of the learning opportunities presented to us! For this one we headed over to The Hall of State at Fair Park for an interactive look at how cowboys, fur trappers, women and other pioneers would have lived life in Texas' younger days. The kids got to play with period toys and of course we put them to work doing chores like grinding corn for corn bread and washing the laundry by hand!

Brianna playing with a toy that children from that era would have played with.

The next time I start to complain about doing laundry, I will have a peek back at this photo! Could you imagine the time it would have taken?!

Freshly churned butter, YUM!

Grinding some corn for some corn bread for that butter!